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Is Xi losing control of the 'peripheries'?

As tens of thousands of activists continue to defy the authorities in Hong Kong by occupying entire blocs in the heart of the city, and with weekly reports of escalating violence in restive Xinjiang, the central government in Beijing seems to be losing its grip on what the Chinese regard as the "peripheries." (Sep 30, '14)

Beijing reaps bitter fruit in Hong Kong

The alienation of many Hong Kong people toward Beijing and the disruptions that mainland citizens have brought to the city's life are both profound and topped off by claims Beijing has reneged on its promise of universal suffrage by 2017. While that claim is a canard peddled by the democracy movement, quibbling over the Basic Law has been overtaken by outrage that the Hong Kong government gassed its own people.
- Peter Lee (Sep 29, '14)

Iran and Israel vie in Kurdistan
Kurdistan's oil resources, militias, and increasing autonomy from Baghdad will make it an important actor in regional politics, especially to Iran and Israel. The mullahs and the Likud, however, may all be too guided by recent enmity and doctrinaire foreign policy to realize the role Kurdistan could play in defeating the Islamic State.
- Brian M Downing (Sep 30, '14)

What if 'Islamic State' didn't exist?

Western and Arab motives in the war against Islamic State might differ, but both sides have keen interest in fighting in the war and an even keener interest in obfuscating the real reasons behind IS's meteoric rise. While the West refuses to admit the obvious link between IS and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, Arab leaders need the bogeyman of "Islamist" terror legitimize their power.
- Ramzy Baroud (Sep 30, '14)

Modi provides path for Southeast Asia
Parallels between challenges that India and developing Southeast Asia face in job creation, governance and infrastructure make the path new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi treads significant for both the country and the region. Overcoming poverty and corruption requires a paradigm shift beyond long-held stereotypes of the role of business in society and a nation's economy. - Curtis S Chin and Meera Kumar
(Sep 30, '14)

US committed 'epic' crime in Cambodia
Henry Kissinger's assertion that the Richard Nixon administration's secret bombing of Cambodia killed fewer people than drone strikes under President Barack Obama is laughable. The former US secretary of state should have stood trial with Khieu Samphan and other Khmer Rouge leaders. What the US did to Cambodia was an epic crime. (Sep 29, '14)

Obama neglects South Asia at his peril
As the Middle East refuses to stabilize, war against Islamic State heats up and Russia chips away at Ukraine, it's perhaps understandable for US President Obama to expect these issues to define factors in his legacy. However, South Asian peace is also fragile and important - and even a limited agreement there could bring peace to more than a billion people.
- Arshad M Khan (Sep 26, '14)

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Mangalyaan sends India's critics into orbit

The success of India's maiden mission to Mars highlights the potential for multi-national efforts in space to achieve peace between conflicting parties. Crucially the mission's low costs and quick delivery holds the promise of tackling the very issues that have held back humanity from entering a golden era of space travel.
- Raja Murthy (Sep 26, '14)

Terrorism as a cover for intervention
Persuading the Gulf monarchies to enact democracy end their support for Jihadi terror groups all over the Islamic world would take the presence of just and upright international arbiters really interested in enforcing justice rather than pandering to corporate greed. Instead, Western powers chose to use terrorism as a pretext for interventions targeted more at keeping the oil flowing. - Nauman Sadiq (Sep 26, '14)

Brave hearts and wise heads
Older people want their pensions assured, not to scale barriers. That's why Scotland's aging population was a wise predictor of the recent referendum result, despite a lowering of the age of voters to 16. Giving "teenytwitters" the right to decide without demanding obligations in return hardly promises better political decisions, as the many regions around the world contemplating divorces should now consider. (Sep 26, '14)

Gaza and the end of 'Arab gallantry'
The lack of reaction on Arab streets and among the region's governments as Israel savaged Gaza civilians raises doubts over notions of gallantry that define Arab identity. There is a similar lack of gallantry within the ruling Palestinian classes, however, with the war's aftermath seeing the Ramallah political class attack the former Hamas government, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas fret over his position.
- Ramzy Baroud (Sep 26, '14)

One door closes, another opens for IS

A vast Sunni tribal confederation threatens to turn on Islamic State in Iraq, Western airpower is taking its toll, and entering Baghdad seems a distant prospect. But it is not all bad news for IS. The fanfare attending the Western coalition will likely increase hostility toward the West, a development which could unwittingly increase IS recruitment and undermine the legitimacy of Arab partners. - Brian M Downing (Sep 25, '14)

Japan returning to nuclear path
After reeling from a double-blow of natural and nuclear disasters in 2011, Japan seemed poised to lead the world’s turn to radical efficiency and renewable energy. A willingness to restart at least some of its remaining nuclear capacity may undermine that progress.
- Andrew DeWit (Sep 25, '14)

Operation Tomahawk The Caliph
So the Tomahawks are finally flying again, targeting the self-declared leader of Islamic State and even greater bad-asses in the mysterious Khorasan group. As the militants dissolve Maoist-style, The Pentagon will soon be bombing vast tracts of desert for nothing - if that's not the case already, while the people who are really capable of defeating The Caliph's goons don't tomahawk.
- Pepe Escobar (Sep 24, '14)

Mongolian poor turn garbage into gold
A training initiative in Mongolia has helped about 30,000 people form small businesses to turn discarded materials into handmade products. It also tackles a lack of governmental resources that means 90% of garbage in urban outskirts ends up on the street. - Jonathan Rozen (Sep 24, '14)

Get on with it
What a mistake the Federal Reserve has made by putting off the likely start of US rate rises even further than expected. The cost of this dilatoriness can be easily calculated by the growing housing market bubble and size of bad assets. Delay no more!
- Martin Hutchinson (Sep 23, '14)

Erdogan's flying carpet unravels
Belief among Turkish voters that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the best-placed politician to deliver growth and jobs has helped him win one election after another, but this ignores the currency depreciation, rising interest rates and declining economic activity that is rapidly becoming a vicious cycle. Unfortunately for the "mystery investors" helping the opaque economy fly, the dream is looking ragged. (Sep 23, '14)

Western jihadists and risks brought home
Islamic State's high-profile gains in the Middle East will boost recruitment efforts while their foothold in the Levant provides foreign jihadists a base to improve their terrorist skills. However, Western intelligence agencies agree that IS currently lacks the ability to orchestrate a large-scale spectacular, with the most likely threat in lower-level attacks such as assassinations and kidnappings. - Weimeng Yeo (Sep 24, '14)

South Korea stonewalls on the Sewol

Six months after a ferry crash killed nearly 300 South Koreans, the government in Seoul continues to stymie investigations into its behavior and harass the families of victims. The sinking of the Sewol may seem an unfortunate accident. Once the surface is scratched, however, a picture emerges of a government afraid to face demands for the truth.
- J J Suh (Sep 23, '14)

English lessons for Kim’s secret agents
Authorities in North Korea have made English lessons compulsory for state security agents working directly for foreign-educated dictator Kim Jong-eun, as the language has become more popular than Chinese among students. According to one source, Kim himself may have issued the order. (Sep 25, '14)


'Bent' Fed
now blind

Bad enough that the US Federal Reserve faces aspersions regarding its role as regulator and its conflicts of interest; the resignation from fund giant PIMCO of Bill Gross, the Fed's "go to" person on market opinion, tops that. It all adds up to a rough ride ahead for the Fed - and the markets. (Sep 29, '14)

Hidden damage
The latest US inflation figures show that the Federal Reserve's over-expansionary monetary policy isn't revealing itself in inflation. But that does not mean it is doing no damage.
- Martin Hutchinson (Sep 30, '14)

Iran offers to be
West's natural ally

The overwhelming majority with which the House of Commons in London passed the resolution endorsing the government’s proposal to join the US-led military strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq catapults Prime Minister David Cameron to a pivotal role in President Barack Obama’s strategy. With Britain by its side, US doesn’t need the ramshackle “coalition of the willing” ...
- M K Bhadrakumar

[Re Scarier than '07, Sep 22, 2014] Few people will be laughing when a scarier version of the 2007 financial/economic crisis is replayed.
John Chen
United States
   Go to Letters to the Editor

1. Obama's 'stupid stuff' turned upside down

2. The Middle East and its armies

3. China bargains with Indian territory

4. IS and the blowback brewing

5. The Tao of North Korea

6. How Syrian jihad spawned Islamic State

7. A wild ride in China

8. China still haunted by Japan

9. Gaza and the threat of world war

10. IS gives US its 'Suez Crisis' moment

(24 hours to 11:59pm ET, Sep 22, 2014)


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